Oversight and Armed Services Subcommittees Held Joint Hearing on the Final Report of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence

Mar 12, 2021
Press Release


Washington, D.C. – Today, Chairman Stephen F. Lynch and Ranking Member Glenn Grothman, Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Subcommittee on National Security, joined Chairman Jim Langevin and Ranking Member Elise Stefanik, Committee on Armed Services’ Subcommittee on Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems, to hold a joint hearing about the final report released by the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI).

 

The witnesses, all Chairs or Commissioners of the NSCAI, testified about how rapid technological advances in AI and its application across military and intelligence systems will create risks and opportunities for our national security.

 

The Chairs and Commissioners testified that the U.S. government must harness the power of artificial intelligence to strengthen our military and intelligence systems against AI-enabled threats, or risk falling behind China and other strategic adversaries.

 

  • Chairman Work testified that AI will enable a shift to “an era of systems warfare,” and that AI will “literally affect every operation, mission that we do.  And it’s going to require a different way of training our commanders and our people, a different way of educating them.”

 

  • Commissioner Louie testified that “our adversaries are aiming to take advantage of the free and open nature of our society.”  He added, “This is a gathering storm of foreign influence and interference, and requires organizational and policy reforms to bolster our resilience.”

 

  • Dr. Schmidt warned that the U.S. government “is not organized, nor resourced to win the technology competition against a committed competitor. And it's not prepared to defend against AI enabled threats.”

 

The NSCAI representatives testified that the U.S. government must recruit and retain a technologically-proficient workforce in order to leverage the full potential of AI.

 

  • Dr. Schmidt testified:  “There's this huge talent deficit in the government.  We need to build new digital talent pipelines and expand existing programs.  We need to cultivate AI talent nationwide and ensure the best technologists come to the U.S., and stay in the U.S. and don't go to our competitors.  This seems sort of obvious, but it’s incredibly important to emphasize.”

 

  • Commissioner Clyburn added, “The military needs to have expertise, both in and out of uniform, or it will be unable to build the systems to perform the tasks described in our report, and the DOD is unlikely to develop expertise quickly enough on its own.  As a result, if the Department of Defense is going to become AI ready, especially by 2025, as we have recommended, congressional action will be needed.”  The NSCAI provided draft legislative recommendations for Congress to consider in Appendix D of its final report.

  

The witnesses agreed that AI-enabled technologies require transparency, strong oversight, and accountability to protect against misuse and the violation of civil liberties.

 

  • Chairman Work described the technological competition around AI as “a values competition at its core.”  He added, “The way these applications will be used will reflect the governance system of the country that’s pursuing them. … And it is important for the United States, as the greatest democracy in the world, to apply these applications in a way that are consistent with privacy, civil liberties, and law.”

 

  • Dr. Schmidt testified, “We need to build coalitions with like-minded nations, the technology democracies, the techno-democracies in my own verbiage, to advance the development and use of AI in emerging technologies that support our values.”  He added, “The trust of our nation, the trust of our citizens, will hinge on justified assurance that the government's use of AI will respect privacy, civil liberties, and civil rights.”

 

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117th Congress